Time Management Dilemma

Time Management: The Intrinsic Value of Time

So who remembers the good old Bollywood song “Kya karein, kya na karein, ye kaisi mushkil haaye“? While I have no clue about the context of this song, the dilemma is quite real. With so much information, resources, opportunities and vague tasks at our disposal, it is getting harder by the day to place your bets on the winning horse. How to put value on your time? Here is how I perceive the concept of time management.

An image showing the quote to do or not do do. The biggest time management dilemma

I think we have talked enough about the significance of alternate sources of income in our life. If nothing, pandemic has burst that bubble of pseudo sense of security and helped us realize that we live in an uncertain times. Therefore, having a side gig is important than ever. But how does one decide if the job is rewarding them adequately or not? Today, I share some tips I found really helpful in deciding weather or not, should you invest time in any given project or not. Also, this is applicable on every task you decide to pick up or let go in your life. Let’s get started.

Why do I need this?

So, one may argue that why can’t he/she pick every gig/freelance opportunity that comes their way. Also, what needs to be done, needs to be done. Why is it that you specifically need to evaluate and be picky about it. Answer is rather pretty straightforward.

(A) Time is Limited

If you already don’t, please do yourself a favour and start believing that your time here is limited. If something is sucking out time and energy from you, it is essentially depleting a limited resource at your disposal. There are tons of analogies online to emphasize on this fact. I’ll share my favorite one.

Say, if I give you Rs. 86,400 and ask you to spend it however you want. You would probably go out and fulfill those long suppressed desires. Now, what if I say that you have only one day to spend this money. Even if you don’t spend it or lose it, every night you’d be back to zero. The next morning, you’d start afresh with a stash of Rs. 86,400. At this point, you would probably make some conscious efforts to park the money in some investments so that you don’t end up losing it.

A person's figure made of clocks representing that time is a limited resource

That’s what time is. You get 86,400 seconds every morning. Why waste even a single second then? You can spend hours sleeping, watching OTT etc. but you should know that it costs you.

So, you might want to evaluate your choices diligently rather than just picking up anything that comes your way.

(B) Opportunity Cost

Opportunity cost is another concept that is generally used for money, but can be applied to time as well. Imagine running a business and making 3% return on it per annum. Would you do that business? No right. Because if you would have parked that entire investment in a bank FD, you could’ve garnered 4% return any way. That’s your opportunity cost. So, while you are evaluating a side gig, think of it in the terms of opportunity cost. Can I do anything more valuable with my time while I do this? Upskilling, looking out for a better opportunity are all a part of the evaluation. If yes, then it’s better off to let that opportunity go.

Opportunity cost text with a balance

How to Derive Value of a Task:

The next obvious question that comes here is how do I derive the actual value of the task assigned to me. I recently read this idea somewhere and it has helped me a lot lately. So, we as humans, tend to understand the concept of value in monetary terms alone. That’s how this technique is put forth.

1. Value of a Money Fetching Task:

Calculate your per hour rate. It shouldn’t be difficult if you are a working professional. As an example, let’s assume that you earn 100k a month. Your per day income comes out to be about 3.3K. Now divide that by number of work hours you put in each day. Let’s take a standard of 8 hours. This brings your per hour rate to Rs. 420 approximately. So that’s how your company decides your worth. And because you accepted that offer in the first place, you would be pretty much in agreement with that worthiness. What next? You simply invest your time in something that pays more than Rs. 420 an hour.

1.1 The Toll Plaza Example:

A few months ago I went to Daman. There wasn’t much hype about FASTags at that time so I hadn’t put any on my car. Now, as you know, you are charged double if you enter a FAStag lane without the sticker. The toll costed Rs. 110. When I reached the toll, the queue for the cash lane was about 1KM long. It would have easily taken me about 30-40 mins to cross that toll. So, rather than burning fuel and my time, I calculated that I would spend Rs. 110 on a penalty. This is less than what I would pay for 30 minutes of my time. Therefore, I paid the penalty and passed the toll in 5 minutes. Was it the right thing to do? Let me know in the comments section.

1.2 The Sunday Ruining Opportunity Example:

I was recently asked to judge a college event. Young students would come and showcase their projects and I would have to mark them. Only constraint? It was a 5 hour long event with no breaks on a Sunday morning. While most of us would’ve thought of giving it a pass, I calculated my per hour rate and found the amount to be in line with that.

A usual Sunday

In terms of opportunity cost, I had not planned anything extra ordinary for that Sunday. Even if I had, not for 5 long hours. So, getting paid was a much logical option for me.

Ever since, this has been my go to technique for evaluation of any plan I make for the day.

2. Value of a Non Monitory Gain:

This is where things get really interesting while using this method. You now know how to evaluate a task basis money. But what if something is not paying you and seems important? And that’s when you use your wits and try to put a qualitative value on the task.

While the model we discussed above won’t work here, what it does is, it makes you conscious about your choices. Let me give you an example. Say, I am planning to spend my evening watching TV. I know it is never going to pay me. But the realization that I have limited time in hand, I pick my shows wisely. So instead of spending the evening on a chick flick, I’d rather watch a podcast that may help me gain something. I also follow a 10 minute rule. If a movie/show doesn’t keep me intrigued for 10 odd minutes, it’s time to switch.

2.1 The Indian Idol Example:

And while we are on it, I would recommend everyone to watch the cable TV shows as well on OTT platforms only. Those platforms don’t have advertisements and you can finish faster.

I am guilty of being fond of Indian Idol. It is my love for music that draws me towards that show. But if I spend every weeknight watching Aditya Narayan do some stupid shit for two hours, it won’t solve the purpose. So guess what? I watch Indian Idol performances on SonyLIV within 40 mins. That is a massive saving of 100 minutes.

2.2 Value of Learning:

An exception to all this discussed above is a learning opportunity. I wish someone told this to me earlier in life that any skill acquired over the time, any non fiction book read by you, never ever goes to waste. So, in case you are thinking is there anything better (non paying) I can do with my time other than learning. Nope! There isn’t.


The entire idea is to spend your time the way Jews spend their money. It is that one resource, which if used rightly, would generate income for you in the future. I would end it with one of my favorite quotes on time management.

Time is a free resource, but you have to pay for NOT using it.

Do you relate to this?

Got questions? Want to take it to the next level? Reach out to me using your preferred platform from the links below

Until next time..

A techno manager by profession and a hardcore geek at heart. I love to poke my nose into tasks where other usually gave up on. My hobbies include, reading about Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and latest trends in tech industry, playing guitar and yes, memes!

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